Leading Democrats have written to Joe Biden asking him to make good on his promise to reduce America’s reliance on nuclear weapons for defense and revive gun control.
The letter, signed by 55 senators and representatives, was sent Wednesday as the White House made final decisions on the US nuclear posture review (NPR), amid reports that Biden it will only make minor adjustments to the vast nuclear modernization plans inherited from its predecessors.
“Your NPR represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that US nuclear doctrine reflects your recognition that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought,” the letter said.
During the election campaign, Biden said that the United States “does not need new nuclear weapons” and promised that his administration would “work to maintain a strong and credible deterrent while reducing our reliance on and excessive spending on nuclear weapons.”
The campaign also said it would deter and respond to a nuclear attack as the sole purpose of the US nuclear arsenal. The current nuclear posture provides for its potential use against a variety of threats, including an overwhelming cyberattack.
Despite Biden’s campaign rhetoric, an advocate for restraint in nuclear weapons modernization and arms control was ousted last year from her Pentagon post overseeing NPR’s newsroom, after a campaign in against him by hawks in the defense department and in Congress.
The Pentagon-produced NPR draft is believed to be a conservative document, endorsing existing modernization plans, which are expected to cost more than $1 trillion.
Meanwhile, allies led by France have pressed the Biden administration not to introduce a “single purpose” policy, concerned about global pressure on them to change their own doctrines. The White House insists that the president will have the final say in shaping policy.
The Democrats behind the letter urged Biden to make the “single purpose” policy part of NPR and to scrap two new weapon variants introduced by Trump: a low-yield warhead for Trident missiles and a nuclear-launched cruise missile. from the planned sea, saying the moves “would further signal that the United States believes that deterrence, not war, is the sole purpose of nuclear weapons.”
“Your next NPR should reflect the views of your administration, not embrace President Trump’s nuclear weapons programs,” the letter said. It was written by the two leading voices in the Senate on gun control, Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley, and their co-chairs of the House Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Task Force, Donald Beyer and John Garamendi.
If the status quo is not changed, a Cold War-style arms race with Russia and China will be launched, the letter warned, arguing: “A complete break with President Trump’s policies can send a strong signal to Russia and China of that the United States believes in restraint and nuclear arms reduction are measures of a country’s great power status, not an exaggeration of nuclear weapons.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism